Li urges Jiangxi to play key role in region

By Zhao Yinan (China Daily)
Updated: 2014-03-10 08:15

Premier Li Keqiang encouraged Jiangxi province to play an important role in the construction of the economic belt along the Yangtze River.

He said Jiangxi should grasp the opportunity that development of the economic belt along the Yangtze River offers the province. The Yangtze is the country's longest river and the water transportation hub linking eastern and western China.

Li made the remarks during a panel discussion at the ongoing annual session of the National People's Congress on Sunday. Li and deputies from Jiangxi province discussed the development of China's central region.

The premier told lawmakers that China's development is similar to many successful cases of other economies, which saw their coastal areas prosper before businesses moved into the interior along inland rivers.

"Water is the cheapest transportation method, and the Yangtze River is the most powerful water transportation area in China with a high population. It has the conditions to develop a large network of logistics in the area," Li said.

The premier pledged on Wednesday in his annual work report to "build a new economic development belt along the Yangtze River", as part of the country's plan to boost regional development from the coastal areas to the interior along major rivers and land transportation lines.

The average cost of water transportation is at least 20 percent lower than it is on highways, Li said, and if a ship moves with the wind and current, it uses very little diesel oil.

The GDP of Jiangxi, one of China's major grain-producing provinces, is expected to increase by about 10 percent this year, provincial Governor Lu Xinshe told the premier on Sunday.

The province is also known for its abundant water resources. China's largest freshwater lake, Poyang Lake, is in the province, and three counties in the province have been supplying drinking water to Hong Kong since the 1980s.

Sun Xiaoshan, the Jiangxi bureau director of water resources, said the province has modified more than 5,000 small hydroelectric power stations, and it is planning to finish the modification of the remaining 2,000 stations this year, which will add to the power supply in remote areas.